Lion is Apple’s first disc-less distribution of Mac OS X. While that’s great for folks with broadband, for others it can be a pain. You could wait until August and get a USB drive from Apple for $69 or you could download Lion once and create an install disc or drive.

Please note: After Lion is installed on your Mac, the installer file in Applications will automatically be deleted. Because of this, you will want to do this procedure before upgrading your machine. You can also move the installer from the Applications folder. You should also note that booting with a DVD will take significantly longer than booting from your hard drive, so be patient while loading up your install DVD. Using a USB thumb drive instead will greatly improve the installer loading speeds (see Step 4 below).

What You Will Need:

>> A blank DVD-R or 8GB or larger USB Thumbdrive 
>> Lion Installer

1. Crack Open the Installer File

The first thing you need to do is located the “Install Mac OS X  Lion” application icon in the Applications folder on your Mac.

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Right-click on this application and select “Show Package Contents.” In the resulting folder that appears, navigate to Contents > Shared Support. There will be a file called InstallESD.dmg. Drag it to your Desktop as this is the file that we will burn to the blank DVD. 

2. Open Disk Utility

If you are using a USB Thumb drive, you can skip this step and go directly to Step 4.

Insert your blank DVD and launch Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities). Click the “Burn” button in the top left of the Disk Utility toolbar. A file chooser dialog will open. Select the InstallESD.dmg disk image that we just dragged to the Desktop.

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In the resulting window, click the Burn button to begin the burning process. This process will take a while because there is over 3GBs of data being written to the disc.

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3. Burn, Baby, Burn… It’s a Lion Inferno

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After the disc has been successfully burned, it will be ejected from your Mac and ready to be placed in another Mac for installation. Insert the disc and restart your Mac while holding down the C key to boot into the installer disc you just created.

 

4. Portable Lion

If you don’t have a blank DVD, or want to create a bootable USB thumb drive installer instead, Disk Utility will gladly oblige. Open Disk Utility and select your thumb drive in the sidebar, and then click on the Restore tab.

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For the Source area, click on the Image button and select the InstallESD.dmg file on your Desktop. Next, drag your thumb drive from the sidebar to the Destination field. When you have done this, click Restore to have the image “burned” onto your thumb drive. The only thing left to do is to plug it into you Mac, boot up your machine while holding option and choosing your thumb drive to install Lion.